Canonical Platform Control, Bites!

According to network world, Canonical were asking for 75% of Amazon referral revenue from the sale of music through the newly selected Banshee music player.

I must note, that I don’t use Banshee and this isn’t about that program. This move by Canonical is a demonstration of lack of long-term consideration which can not be ignored by the larger Ubuntu community.

As I’ve been warning about in the past with the UbuntuOne services; the main issues weren’t the closed server code but a far bigger issue was the ability of Canonical to over-ride the best interests of the Ubuntu community in order to promote it’s own corporate interests. Historically Canonical have had fairly good self-control with their platform control, making sure to defer to the technical board for decisions. Since UbuntuOne however, we have progressively less self-control and in my eyes, less trust.

What worries me is that this is a continuation of a line of manipulations of the platform for UbuntuOne. We have Microsoft and Apple as a measuring stick of platform manipulation; if it looks like they would do it, you probably shouldn’t. Which in this case, removes revenue from a key software supplier or at the very least degrades our ability to work with Gnome.

I think we need a company with Canonical’s control to be thinking about money in Ubuntu the ecosystem and not only to it’s own business; a healthy ecosystem requires many different and overlapping organisations, all able to make money from the platform. Although I admit that Canonical is young, it still should be focusing on a foundation of models that it hopes to take forward.

Every time this sort of thing happens, it makes it harder and harder to recommend Ubuntu to new users. I just can’t guarantee that their experience has been considered in their best interest. Sooner or later it’s going to be easier to recommend other platforms.

Your thoughts?

Update: I reworded some of the text for clarity and directness.